A 17-year-old boy charged in a felony battery case is asking to transfer his case to juvenile court.
Defense Attorney Frank Shaw has previously said his client, who was 16 years old when the alleged offense occurred, suffers from mental health issues.
“We have hopes that the case will be transferred to juvenile [court],” Shaw told the Log Cabin Democrat. “Primarily because adult prison will not provide him any help.”
Kane Millsaps of Conway was charged as an adult with felony first-degree battery and misdemeanor possession of an instrument of crime after authorities became aware of a video posted to YouTube showing Millsaps hitting an unsuspecting 12-year-old boy while wearing brass knuckles.
Circuit Judge Troy B. Braswell Jr. previously set a jury trial in the case after the State Hospital found Millsaps was fit to proceed with trial.
The two-day trial is set to begin May 3. However, that date will be delayed if Braswell sets a transfer hearing in Millsaps’s case.
Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Hugh Finkelstein said prosecutors stand by their decision to try Millsaps as an adult.
“We believe that justice would best be served if Mr. Millsaps were charged as an adult,” he said. “We have charged him as an adult, and it will be the decision of the judge, after listening to all the evidence at a juvenile transfer hearing, whether or not Mr. Millsaps will be tried as an adult or a juvenile.”
Shaw said the defense feels prosecutors are seeking a punishment greater than the crime committed warrants.
“The state is seeking the max penalty, including an enhancement of 10 years for a total of 30 years,” he said.
Millsaps’s enhancement charge stems from the victim’s age.
According to Arkansas law, first-degree battery charges also applies to a person who “knowingly, without legal justification, causes serious physical injury to a person he or she knows to be twelve (12) years of age or younger.”
Shaw said he did not agree with this statue applying to “children v. children.”
Without the 10-year enhancement charge, Millsaps faces five to 20 years in prison if found guilty.
Shaw also said he feels his client should have been charged with a lesser crime.
“It’s hard to dispute the video, but what hasn’t been seen is the true injuries of the victim,” he said. “They are more consistent with third-degree battery than with first-degree battery.”
Shaw said the request for a juvenile transfer hearing was made after he “conducted a reasonable and diligent investigation of both the allegations as presented and the background of the Defendant.”
“Further, should the Defendant’s request for transfer to the jurisdiction of the juvenile court be granted, the Defendant next requests that the Court order the transfer and designate the present matter as an Extended Juvenile Jurisdiction,” the motion reads.
Millsaps, who is currently being held without bond in the county jail, is set to appear next in Faulkner County Circuit for an omnibus hearing — a hearing set to determine the admissibility of evidence — at 9 a.m. March 31.